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Report No. 79

18. Appeals to courts subordinate of the High Court

(99) To relieve the High Courts of their burden regarding first appeals, the pecuniary appellate jurisdiction of District Judges should be raised. More District Judges will, of course, have to be appointed. Because of variable local conditions, a uniform figure for the whole country as to the pecuniary limits of appellate jurisdiction of District Judges is not feasible. Appeals of higher value should lie to High Courts, which inspire greater confidence. These remarks apply also to the subordinate judges exercising appellate jurisdiction.1

(100) It should be ensured that the number of appellate courts in each district is sufficient to deal with the volume of appeals in that district. Because of the low priority accorded to appeals, such appeals remain pending and the parties have to go back because of the pre-occupation of the judge. To avoid this, the courts subordinate to High Court should set apart a number of days every month exclusively for the disposal of civil appeals. Where the workload does not permit such a course, recourse should be had to increasing the number of appellate courts in the district.2

Appeals in subordinate courts generally not being of a complicated nature, they should not remain pending for an unduly long time, if days are earmarked for exclusively dealing with them.3

(101) Normally, civil appeals in subordinate courts should be disposed of within six to nine months of their institution. The problem of disposal of appeals in subordinate courts can be tackled by just increasing the number of the appellate courts. The increase required would be small and insignificant.4

(102) Criminal appeals too are accorded low priority. Quite often, they have to be adjourned because the Presiding Officer of the court is pre-occupied with other matters. The steps recommended above regarding civil appeals can also be adopted for the disposal of criminal appeals. Increase in the number of courts of Additional District and Sessions Judges would be helpful in expediting the disposal of both civil and criminal appeals. Where there is not enough work for the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge which may be created for one district, he can look after appeals in two adjoining districts.5

(103) Most often, one public prosecutor looks after cases in more than one court. When cases are called in more courts than one, he can attend to only one of them, necessitating either a hearing without effective representation or an adjournment. The number of public prosecutors in each district should be adequate to deal with cases called in different courts at the same time.6

(104) The proposed system of filing a concise note of arguments (recommended in this Report for first appeals in the High Court) need not be made compulsory for civil appeals in subordinate courts.7

1. Paras. 18.1 to 18.10.

2. Para. 18.11.

3. Para. 18.12.

4. Para. 18.12.

5. Para. 18.15.

6. Para. 18.14.

7. Para. 18.15.

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